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The Catholic Church shows its sick hypocrisy toward LGBT parents

The Daily Beast

August 25, 2018

The Catholic Churches of Buffalo will close as an adopting and fostering agency because it wants to illegally discriminate against LGBT parents. The church’s hypocrisy is absurd.

Does the Catholic Church care about children?

One has to wonder: if multiple members of the institution aren’t actively abusing children, and the institution itself doing all it can to cover up and only very late in the day accept responsibility for what occurred, its childcare agencie­­­s are denying young people loving homes because of the church’s officially sanctioned homophobia.

And this homophobia, this desire to discriminate, outweighs the needs of the children they are supposed to be protecting and caring for. That isn’t an act of faith, it’s awful cruelty.

The Catholic Churches of Buffalo will terminate its foster care and adoption program because the Churches claim that New York state rules that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation conflict with Catholic teaching.

“We’re a Catholic organization, so we have to practice what we do consistent with the teaching of the church,” Dennis C. Walczyk, the chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, told The Buffalo News.

A same-sex couple applied to the agency to become adoptive foster parents, which led to the agency to make its decision, The Buffalo News reported.

“We were in conflict,” Rose Caldwell, the charity’s director of communication and public relations, told The Daily Beast. “We could not discriminate against the couple but we also had to uphold church laws.”

It’s hard to stifle a horrified laugh at such piety when it comes at the expense of children’s safety and security—and when it is targeted against people willing to help the most vulnerable children in our society.

The horrified laugh becomes even more curdled when one observes that the Catholic Churches of Buffalo’s discrimination comes just after a grand jury report detailed the horrific abuse of young people the Catholic Church allowed to continue over many years in Pennsylvania, and as Missouri and other U.S. states now prepare to investigate the abuse the Catholic Church may have housed and concealed over the years.

Given the scandals besetting it, the Catholic Church should burn with the shame it has so often, and damagingly, imputed to LGBT people.

Not only are the Catholic Churches of Buffalo morally lacking, the organization refuses to observe the law. It then tries to cloak this prejudice and law-breaking in the mantle of principled victimhood, like all those who sell their LGBT-bashing under the martyrish mantle of ‘religious liberty.’

As The Daily Beast’s Pilar Melendez wrote, New York state law requires contracting organizations—like a charity—to allow same-sex couples to adopt or to raise foster children.

This is the fourth Catholic charity—the others are in Boston, Illinois, and San Francisco—to terminate their adoption program in order to discriminate against prospective LGBT parents, rather than do their jobs which is to help children.

“Marriage is only between man and a woman and it is to the advantage of the child to have both a father and a mother,” said Sister Mary McCarrick, diocesan director of the Buffalo charity, in a press conference Wednesday.

If the Catholic Church wants to know why its influence in countries such as Ireland is so greatly diminished, one key reason lies in this quote. It is in its total disavowal of reality and a changing world.

McCarrick seems unaware that marriage equality is the law of the land in the United States. Marriage is not only between a man and a woman. It is a right now enjoyed by same-sex couples too.

As well as denying reality and the law, the Church’s disavowal of LGBT people, if not shocking, is rooted in a sick hypocrisy.

Imagine calling yourself a Christian, claiming you care about children and families, and instead of ensuring the children who most need safety and security find it, you choose to indulge your own prejudice towards gay people instead, and claim all this is godly.

These are the teachings and moral positions of a church that, given its own appalling record when it comes to child abuse, has no leg to stand on when it comes to moralizing about anything, but most particularly the needs of children and those best suited to bringing them up.

Given its own profound moral and spiritual failings, how dare the Catholic Church presume to discriminate against LGBT people.

The church itself is in flux about LGBT issues, stuck between changing times and its fiercely cherished homophobic tradition.

This week, as reported by the National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Jesuit Fr. James Martin told the World Meeting of Families in Ireland that LGBT people had been treated like “lepers” by the church.

Martin, an LGBT advocate, said most LGBT Catholics have been deeply wounded by the church.

“They may have been mocked, insulted, excluded, condemned or singled out for critique, either privately or from the pulpit,” Fr. Martin said. “They may never have heard the term ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ expressed in any positive way, or even a neutral way.”

The Times of London reported that LGBT groups protested outside the conference at their exclusion from the event. A petition protesting Father Martin’s participation in the event garnered 10,000 signatures.

The Church’s official catechism, for many years, has described “homosexual acts” as “intrinsically disordered.”

In recent years, there has been a battery of conferences and reports in which more dignity towards LGBT people has been recommended.

The Vatican used “LGBT” for what is believed to be the first time ever in a document prepared for the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October.

The present pope himself is reported to have told a gay man: “God made you like this. God loves you like this. The pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”

But Pope Francis hasn’t confirmed this, and has not emphatically stated his support of LGBT people and LGBT equality.

This weekend Francis visits Ireland for the World Council of Families, where marriage equality is now the law of the land, and where the ban on abortion has also been overturned.

On Saturday, as reported by The Daily Beast, the pope’s recognition of the scale of child abuse seemed dutiful at best. It was left to Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, to tell the Pope plainly that there should be “zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse.”

Varadkar also underscored to the pope the diversity and acceptance present in modern Ireland, and how the Catholic Church should adapt to this pluralistic world.

Later, Pope Francis spoke to a crowd of thousands in Dublin’s Croke Park; his major themes were the perils of social media, the need to baptize children early, and valuing the role of grandparents.

The irony for the Catholic Church is that an emphatic volte-face in favor of LGBT equality and acceptance might do it a massive PR favor.

The collapse of the Catholic Church’s influence in Ireland should serve as a powerful lesson if Francis chooses to learn from it.

The Catholic Church that discriminates against LGBT people, that prides itself on turning away LGBT parents and seeking to control women’s reproductive choices, is now in terminal decline, thanks to the increasing public rejection of its moral rigidity, intolerance, and prejudice.

The Catholic Church’s dogmatic poison that once nourished it is now killing it. As other religions might have it, that’s karma.